Did you know that Japan actually has five seasons? I am not kidding here. If you ask any Japanese person, they would definitely agree with you. In addition to the regular four seasons, experienced in every temperate climate around the world, Japan also has a rainy season. Now, before I moved to Japan, I was under the impression that rainy season was reserved for places that also had a dry season. You know, places like the desert or Savannah. But, even without any deserts or savannahs, Japan has claimed their own rainy season. And, conveniently enough, their rainy season fits very nicely into a one-month time frame.
June is the rainy season. If it rains anytime before or after June, inevitably people will complain about the amount of rain because it’s not happening in June, the appropriate month for rain. I used to think that this way of thinking was kind of stupid. I mean seriously, who actually believes that you can fit the patterns of weather into so neat a package? Japanese people believe it with the utmost confidence. In May, things like umbrellas, rain coats, and galoshes become as widely advertised as sandals and UV clothing. And people pay for these goods. I have seen people pay $30 for an umbrella. As an outsider observing the scene, it all seems a bit illogical. But what do I know? Maybe Japan has succeeded where the rest of the world has failed. Maybe they have some sort of secret deal with the forces that control weather in order to not only get this bonus season, but to control its time frame as well. But as a repercussion to taking matters of weather into their own hands, Japan has to bear copious amounts of humidity, only to be rivaled by countries bordering the Equator.
Setting aside all the possible reasons as to why this tidy time frame exists, I return to the original question: who would actually that patterns of weather can be so neatly boxed into a specific time frame? I hate to admit it, but this past spring, I have become one of those very people. It has rained almost non-stop for the past few days and I caught myself complaining about the rain by asking “Why is it raining? It’s not June yet.” I have even been debating buying a rain coat before June starts.
It’s embarrassing and seeing it in writing makes me feel a bit stupid, but it is what it is. I guess that when you live long enough in a culture not your own, inevitably you will start adopting some of their ways of thinking as your own. But not to worry, in the areas that really matter, like warding off demons, I will never waver. Throwing beans and cucumbers at demons is too much of a waste of food to ever buy into as believable.